Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Feather River Hospital Emergency Ward ...


   I wound up taking the weekend off from the Blog, as things were a bit busy here ...

   during Spring of 2015, Sybil & I were back 'home' at our usual summer campsite in the beautiful Feather River Canyon, of northern Kalifornia ... we love it there !

   our days were usually pretty quiet and peaceful, Sybil lounging in the yard, waiting for a sign that John may come by on his quad to escort her up the mountain for a romp, and me sitting on my butt at the computer ... I always started off my day scouring the online newspapers, keeping myself entertained in that way ... 

   as incapacitated as I was from my bad replacement knee, plus no shortage of arthritis pain, I didn't get much in the way of exercise, to say the least ... really not being the lazy type, it was hard on me emotionally, too ... I always was a 'hyper' sort of guy, and seldom could sit still for long ... but, that's no excuse for not keeping my mind active, so I either submerged myself with online newspapers, or kept my nose buried in a book ... 

   a quick little bit of background here:  my Dad was literally a Kentucky-born hillbilly, from the southeastern backwoods that were later flooded to create Lake Cumberland, in the Daniel Boone Nat'l. Forest ... he quit school in the 6th grade, to help support his single mother, in those Depression years ... my Dad had a HARD life, no doubt about it ...

   with only that 5th grade education, though, my Dad was one of the smartest men I have ever known ... he placed education above almost everything, and always encouraged me to read ... we never came home from the grocery store, without me having a new comic book, to add to the hundreds I already owned ... when my Mom would complain I already had too many, he always replied, "anything to keep him reading" ... he really respected educated people, and it literally broke his heart when I quit high school years later ... 

   I did go on to get my GED in the Army, and even took some college courses as an adult ... I qualified, and became a member of MENSA, and posted outrageous test scores years later on my college entrance exams ... no big deal, all I ever really wanted to do was be a truck driver, anyway !

   so, to this day, I can't do anything without having something to be reading at the same time ... 'Class A Personality', they call it ... 'whacko', according to others, haha ...

   anyway, the point is, I spend many hours sitting on my butt ... so much that I even had to move my trailer's floor-mounted chair from one side of the little dinette table, to the other side ... my left hip was so sore from sitting crooked in my chair, I tried the other side ... that helped ...

   on July 12, 2015, I was weekending at my girlfriend's apartment, and noticed Sybil seemed to be favoring one paw ... I couldn't get a good look at it, so I got down on the floor to inspect it closer ... not seeing anything wrong with it, I rolled over & started to get up off the floor ...

   that's when all Hell broke loose - something in my hip seemed to pop, and the WORST pain I have ever felt in my life just ripped me to pieces ... I have broken most bones in my body, and have had several major surgeries in my life ... I have a very high pain tolerance, in short, I ain't no candy-ass !

   I scared my girlfriend and Sybil half to death - I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs, the pain was unbearable ...

   I thought I had dislocated my hip, or something worse, and the ambulance was called ...
   
   I was taken to Feather River Hospital Emergency Ward, there in Paradise, Kalifornia ... I had been there several times before, even having a couple major surgeries there - the replacement knee that torments me even to this day, plus I had a kidney removed, (2005) ... my right kidney had a tumor on it, plus a tiny speck on the adrenal gland ...

   I was repeatedly assured that I only need one kidney, that it's no big deal - (I also could get by with only one eye, but I'd rather not part with one) ...

   I was told that kidney cancer progresses so slowly, I would die of old age before it caused a problem for me ... regardless, they had me return annually the next 2 years, to keep an eye on that tiny adrenal gland tumor ...

   the last CT-scan results were examined by a Dr. Stokmanis, I think he must have just been some Dr. on duty that day, as I did not normally see him for anything ... (nor, would I now) ...
   we were standing in the hallway looking at my CT-scan, and he stated that things all looked good, nothing out of the ordinary ...

   at that same time, a lady Dr., (whose name I don't remember), a very nice, short, Pakistani lady Doctor, stopped abruptly, turned, and pointed her finger at the X-rays, without saying a word, just staring at him ... then , he said "oh, here it is !, but it's very tiny, like a grain of sand, I wouldn't worry about it, those things grow so slowly" ...

   now, back to my story - my girlfriend followed the ambulance to Feather River Hospital, where I was given an X-ray, and some painkillers that really kicked my ass, but had little or no effect on the excruciating hip pain ...

   leaving my girlfriend and myself alone in the Emergency Room, the ECU people went (somewhere ?), I then somehow managed to fall forward to the floor (I don't imagine that did my hip any good) ... I just remember standing there, the room spinning, then falling forward with the floor coming up fast ! ... 

   I can still see my arm out in front of me, reaching out to the gurney to catch myself, then seeing my hand miss it, and falling HARD to the floor... 
   (it's funny now, but I remember thinking to myself as my hand just barely missed the table, " awww, shit, I missed ! ") ... my girlfriend, trying her best to catch me, couldn't hold on, and had to fill in the details for me later ... 

   evidently, I was trying to get into a wheelchair or something, when I fell ... after I hit the floor, I don't remember anything, I thought I had passed out, actually ... but, my girlfriend said the attendants rushed back into the room, and I was screaming in pain while they struggled to lift me up onto the gurney ... 

   she says despite my SEVERE hip pain, and then falling HARD to the floor, no one thought it might be a good idea to X-ray the hip again to see if anything more had happened to it ...

   after lying there awhile in the Emergency room, and pretty well sedated, (finally), I managed to settle down, and we were told I had suffered a 'hip sprain', given a few Norco pain pills, and sent on my way, telling me it should be ok in a few days ...

   I learned a long time ago, to obtain all my medical records & keep them in my safe at home ... I learned that one from Evel Knievel, who always did that, and since I traveled so much, between trucking & camping, it made good sense to have that stuff with me in case of emergencies ... 

   take a look at my 'hip sprain' - it's OK if you haven't had any Medical training, you shouldn't need any, to see what this is :

 
Feather River Hospital Emergency Ward X-ray - July 12, 2015



   that's my left hip - keep in mind, this X-ray was taken to determine WHY I was screaming in pain from a problem in my left hip joint ...

   maybe THIS was why : 


Aug. 28, 2015 - Peoria, IL X-ray of same hip

   as it plainly shows, my femur (thigh bone) has a rather large cancer tumor, which has eaten away at the bone itself ... (also notice, more bone has been destroyed since the first X-ray) ...

   maybe I wasted all those years as a truckdriver, maybe I should have been an orthopedic surgeon, as that is sure as hell OBVIOUS to ME !

   I had not yet obtained the X-ray that Feather River Hospital took, so I was still unaware of the real cause of my hip pain, when I left on a trip ...

   the following month I took a road trip back to my home town of Peoria, Illinois to have my left knee replacement done over again ... I was damned if I was going to get a knee revision by the same people that did the original replacement !

   trust me when I say, my 2,000 mile trip driving with that hip was pure hell ! ... I thought it sure was awful damned sore for just a 'hip sprain' !

   when my new Orthopedic Surgeon in Peoria X-rayed my left leg, he announced he wasn't concerned with the knee, that I "had a lot more serious problems than that", and scheduled me for an immediate bone scan ... 

   on  August 31, I got a bone scan of my left femur, confirming a 40mm x 80mm bone cancer tumor, plus the adrenal tumor had grown quite a bit, crowding my other organs, so further tests were scheduled for that, too ... as it turned out, I had Advanced Stage 4 renal & adrenal cancer ... 

    September 25th, a biopsy was taken, and determined immediate surgery was required, as I had very severe bone cancer in the femur, ... since the femur was eaten away so badly, it could snap at any moment, (that would really suck !) a 'Gamma Nail' surgery was scheduled immediately ...

   I was lucky enough to have one hell of a fine surgeon doing the Gamma Nail, a Dr. Maxey, of Peoria, IL ... he had done hundreds of these advanced surgeries, and is one of the world's best. period. - he was even a consultant to the 'Law & Order' television series, man, this was medical care like rich folks get !

   the surgery was a real tricky one, much longer and bloodier than expected ... to this day, I am warned not to allow ANY surgeon to touch that hip, unless they speak with Dr. Maxey first ... the tumor was an unusually dense mass of blood vessels, and I guess I bled like a stuck pig, they're still mopping up ! ... the surgery took a lot longer than expected, and Dr. Maxey said of all these same procedures he'd done, he had NEVER seen so dense a cluster of blood vessels as what I had ... see ?, told ya I was special ! ...

   a Titanium rod was run through my femur, from hip to knee - anchored at the hip with a great big wood-screw looking thing, and screwed again just above my steel knee, plus a couple more screws in the thigh, just to make sure it doesn't all fall apart ...

   with scrap-metal prices always on the rise, it's sort of like a long term investment !

   the surgery was followed up by 10 radiation treatments, over a two-week period, and I prepared for my return drive to Kalifornia ... 

   the good news : the bone tumor itself showed signs of shrinkage, and also indicated the bone itself was starting to re-generate ...

   the other news : this treated the bone cancer, but it had metasticized from my kidney & adrenal gland, so that's still the problem ... there is no chemo-therapy or processes to treat what I have, so I was given 12-14 months to live ...

   (that was 17 months ago - I've always questioned Authority !)

   next post, I will add more - oh yeah, there's more, this is just the tip of the iceberg ...


   

Thursday, February 23, 2017

a little background catching-up ...



    my original intent with re-starting my Blog, was to gradually slip in details from the past couple years, adding just enough each post to build up 'suspense' ... (that's the way us Pulitzer type writers do it, ya know) ...

   however, things tend to take on their own sense of priority as time goes by ... supposedly, Beatle John Lennon said, " Life is what happened, while you were making other plans " ... 
   
   sure does seem that way ... 

   so, while Life runs it's course according to it's own whims, I will pick up the Blog pace a bit, and get to the interesting stuff a little quicker ...

                 **************************

   after a lifetime of longhaul trucking & more orthopedic surgeries than anyone should ever endure (motorcycle enthusiast, ya see) I was beat up enough to just say "screw this, I'm going camping !" ...


camping
   I bought a new Ford van, an E-250 Super Duty Extended cargo model van, (and, I LOVE MY BIG FORD VAN !), and ordered a new Casita 17' travel trailer from the manufacturer ... after a 3-month wait, I drove to their Texas factory to take possession of my new 'home' ...

   while driving interstate for a living, my home was burglarized a couple times ... just minor losses, but it got me to wondering WHY I was paying a mortgage just to keep all my belongings in one place, to make it easier for burglars ... I was only home a day or two per week at the most, anyway ...

   so, I put all my stuff into a storage building, and lived in my trucks ... after divorces, I didn't really have anything, just had my job ...
 
   living 24/7 in a semi-truck, it was easy to rack up a crazy amount of miles ... while most drivers' top concern is just 'getting back home' to the family, mine was just to get the load delivered, and get under the next one ... I doubt very much if the drivers of today could even approach the amount of miles I ran, (3.5 million+ miles over 31 years) simply because of law enforcement ... the way the Driver's Logs are set up these days, it's virtually impossible to get away with that kind of mileage ...
   
   I worked hard & long, and being pretty well beat-up physically, I was more than ready to go off into the woods, mountains, and desert, and live like a heathen ! ... above all else, it well prepared me to survive, and thrive, in a tiny travel trailer ... it was only a 17' trailer, and intended for only 3-season usage, but I did just fine in it - it's positively LUXURIOUS compared to a truck sleeper !

   couldn't have done it without my sweetie, though !


Sybil, my sweetie, 11 weeks old


Sybil's 6th birthday, June 2015 - yup, she GREW !
   OK, so there's a little background for the new reader, tomorrow, we'll get down to the brass tacks ...


                       

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


   There have been so many major changes in my life these last couple years, it's not going to be easy to catch up ... if I had a better memory, I might consider chronological order, but the 1960's took care of that !

   fortunately, I took great care to document the details of my developing situation, so I will use those notes to help estimate my timing of events a little more accurately ... 

   from this Blog, I know my last entries were made while typically camping in the Arizona desert during the winter of 2014-2015 ... as was usual in those days, I returned to northern Kalifornia to spend my Spring/Summer of 2015 ...

   my hideaway in the Feather River Canyon has long been my favorite spot by far, to the point I consider myself a resident, (although, not legally), and the few legitimate local residents (6) are still regarded as good friends ...  one neighbor lady has passed away, her husband is quite old and in failing health, and four others have moved away, leaving their homes up for sale ...
   
   the little General Store & campground (the only business for miles) sold to a nice couple, that have enjoyed their first year in business, they are nice folks, a welcome addition to the whole area ...

   Sybil, as always, thoroughly enjoyed our summer camp, everybody there knew her, and she had bears, mountain lions, wild turkeys, fox, and squirrels by the boatloads, to keep her on constant vigil ... well, awake, anyway ... sometimes ...

   John, a local friend of Sybil & I, a gentleman in his late 80s, was one of the only residents still left ... John would ride his Yamaha ATV (quad) to the Post Office every day to check his mail ... 

   yes, we even had a Post Office, an old, tired, singlewide mobile office sort of affair - doesn't even have a restroom ... the Postmistress has to walk across the street to the General Store to use theirs ... and, these days, the Post Office is only open a couple hours a day ...
   with a population so tiny, you might wonder why there is even a Post Office at all, but it just happens to be the only Postal facility for quite a few miles up & down the Feather River Canyon ... so, it stays, and we're lucky to have it !

   Sybil would watch old John ride by every day, and very soon, John and Sybil grew close - he would take her for miles up on the mountain, and she would return thoroughly tuckered out, and grinning from ear to ear ! ... she dearly loved John & his Quad (Sybil knew it as her 'putt-putt') ... every morning, she would lay in front of our trailer, eyes fixated towards John's cabin ... 

   while she couldn't see John's cabin for the trees, she evidently could hear him walk out to his garage to get on the Quad ... she would get all agitated and jump up & down long before you would hear the Quad start up ... pretty damned good hearing, considering the garage is almost 1/2 mile away from us, with dense forest all around ... I couldn't hear a thing, even when the engine was running ... but then, I don't have wolf-ears !


video


   my friend John's wife died the following year, and he moved back east to be with family, as he was 88, and suffering the usual ravages of old age ... we often swapped stories debating the best arthritis remedies, etc. ... John wanted Sybil to have the Quad, as he knew how much she loved to run alongside, and I was usually too crippled up to walk with her ...

   we struck a fair deal, and I, for the first time in years, was able to take Sybil on the long runs she needed & deserved ... 

   while I never did get too enthused about owning a Quad (I'm a motorcycle guy, Quads are for geezers - too many wheels) I was really looking forward to a winter in the desert where I could go exploring with Sybil ... it would have been GREAT not be stuck sitting in the trailer while the occasional friend would stop by, and take Sybil for a walk ... as happy as I was to see Sybil running off to play for a little while, it hurt at the same time ... it was sad watching her go off like that, made me feel pretty useless ...

   then, those damned 'changes' started rearing their ugly little heads ... not 'changes', like the Socialist liar Obama promised, but real changes, changes that affect lives ... well, mine, anyway ...

                






  
   

Saturday, February 18, 2017


   Well, here we are again at the old Blogsite ... it's been quite awhile since I posted last, 2 years, 2 months and change, as a matter of fact ...

   a whole LOTTA change ! hahaha ...  

   it's early evening here, and I'm still an early riser, plus, I'm a little pre-occupied right now ... so,

   I'll be back soon with more, and I suspect it will be worth the wait ... changes ...